Fitness is an important and often over-looked factor in how low your scores are. We take a look at some golf exercises for flexibility and muscle training that you can perform at home and before you start your round.
People don’t often associate fitness with golf, but the truth of the matter is that the gentlemen’s game is a sport, and like any sport, there is some athleticism required. No, you won’t need to go on bulking binges the same way you see players in the NFL (or even Tiger Woods) do, but if you want to get the most out of your swing you will want to make sure that your body is in good working order.
Regular stretching and light flexibility and muscle strengthening training will go a long way towards increasing the length of your drives and improving your overall performance on the course. Read on for a few of the best exercises for golf that will be sure to have you hitting the ball better in no time!
* Not all exercises are best for all players. If you are ever unsure whether or not a new exercise or fitness routine is right for you, consult with your physician before proceeding. *
Most people don’t find stretching to be extremely exciting, but the truth is, it’s a quick and easy way to avoid or recover from injury, and even to pick up a little bit extra flexibility and rotation (which of course translates into extra yards).
Considering that you can do most stretching exercises at home or in the parking lot before your round there is no excuse not to add them to your golfing routine.
Arm circles are about as basic a stretch as you can come by, but no one is saying that that is a bad thing.
To perform them, simply rotate your arms at a gradual speed for ten to fifteen seconds. The arm circles will help get your blood flowing, and they will also make your joints feel a little looser, which will benefit you a lot once you get to the first tee.
For this next stretch, you will simply spread your feet shoulder length apart and, with your hands on your hips, turn from side to side. Do this ten to fifteen times to loosen up.
This is another basic stretch that you have probably done in the past to prepare for a number of different physical activities.
To stretch your shoulders out you will simply place one arm across your chest, and with your hand on your elbow, pull that arm gently into your body, and hold the position for several seconds. When you are done, repeat with the next arm.
To perform a lunch stretch (otherwise referred to as a lunge rotation stretch) you will start by holding a golf club at both ends of its shaft, then bringing it back to your shoulders so that the shaft is parallel to the ground.
Once you have the club comfortably in that position, step into a lunge, and rotate your body in the direction of your forward knee. Hold that position for several seconds, then release and repeat.
This is a stretch that you will probably want to perform from the comfort of your home. To stretch your hamstrings, lay flat on your back, and lift one leg up into the air. Cup the back of your thigh of the lifted leg, and pull it towards you while keeping the other leg on the ground.
Again, you will hold your position for several seconds before releasing. Alternate legs as you repeat.
Now that you have begun to optimize your flexibility and rotation capacity by implementing stretches into your pre-round routine, it is time to take a look at a few ways to increase the strength of your golf muscles, and really give the ball a pounding.
We went over the lunge as a stretch earlier, but by increasing intensity you can also use the lunge to build up your golf muscles.
The movement here is mostly going to be the same as the last lunge stretch that we looked at, but instead of implementing the turning motion, you will simply hold your position for a few seconds, then switch legs.
To add intensity to this exercise you can incorporate weights by holding them while you lunge, keeping your arms pointed straight down as you do. When using weights, it is always important to start moderately to prevent the risk of injury.
For best results, do three sets of twelve, resting in between sets.
Side steps are going to help to strengthen your base which will allow you to apply more strength in the downswing. Performing them is relatively simple. To start, you will need a stable, raised platform. A workout bench works very well, but if you do not have one on hand, you can improvise with a staircase.
Whatever platform you chose, just make sure that the surface is wide enough for you to safely step onto consistently step onto.
To perform this exercise you will stand parallel to your surface facing forward, and take side steps onto it, stabilizing yourself with only one leg while extending the other one outward. Hold for several seconds, and repeat.
This next exercise that we will be looking at is designed to work your abs. To start, you will need a weight or medicine ball. You should consider a relatively lightweight object when you begin, preferably weighing no more than ten pounds to avoid injury.
To begin the exercise you will sit upright on the floor. With your weight in hand, try your best to keep your feet off the floor, then rotate the weight from side to side. For best results, do three sets of twenty.
The final exercise that we will be looking at is designed to strengthen your chest muscles. To perform this exercise you will need a workout bench and two dumbbells that are an appropriate weight for your body type.
Once you have those, you will lay flat on your back on the workout bench holding the weights over your elbows. When you are ready, extend the weights gradually forward until your arm is fully extended. Slowly lower your arms, then repeat.
For best results try to do three sets of ten repetitions.
You may have noticed that the majority of the golf exercises and stretches here are designed to build a strong core and base. Golf exercises aren’t generally designed to add bulk. By following these exercises and stretches you probably aren’t going to become a body builder, but you will increase your distance, and lower the risk of injury.
Fitness is important in golf and in life, so try your best to take a little bit of time each week to improve your health, your swing, and ultimately, your golf game.
Good luck on the course!